And so it begins, Kingdom: Ashin of the North will premiere this Friday, July 23 on Netflix! Moreover, the movie stars Jun Ji-hyun from My Love From The Star, Park Byung-eun from The Royal Tailor, Kim Si-a from The House of Us, Kim Roi-ha from The Host, and Koo Kyo-hwan from Peninsula.
The successful premiere and good reviews of the first season, Kingdom has led to a special prequel episode. The movie shows the history of where did the epidemic started and the history of the resurrection plant.
Kingdom: Ashin of the North
The special episode focuses on the concept of ‘han‘ which means anguish or sadness. Moreover, the story will tell about the Seongjeoyains‘ history of wars, poverty, and hunger. Ashin who grew up in Joseon’s northern border region also suffered from poverty, discrimination, and losing a loved one.
Driven by her concerns for her dying mother, young Ashin as starred by Kim Si-a then stumbled upon the resurrection plant that ‘can revive the dead‘. Then the other disastrous moments happened overnight, leaving her with nothing but her bow as a weapon to commit her life in avenging the people responsible for the tragedy.
Moreover, director Kim Seong-hun chose to return to the episode where it tells about the history of the Kingdom and the origin of the resurrection plant. Director Kim Seong-hun‘s understanding of Kingdom is so keen that according to the writer Kim Eun-hee:
“He knows exactly what I intended in each scene. It may be because he read my script so many times.“
Kingdom: Ashin of the North follows the cold properties of the resurrection plant’s origin, to Joseon’s northern regions. In addition, the setting of vast open lands and bluish-black cone-shaped forests offers another kind of beauty than the landscape of Kingdom’s previous seasons.
Jun Ji-hyun as Ashin
In the last episode of Kingdom‘s previous season, Jun Ji-hyun made an appearance that mesmerized the fans as she transforms herself into Ashin. Her discovery of the resurrection plant has brought calamity to the whole Joseon. Furthermore, the writer Kim Eun-hee sculpted Ashin as “a warrior with internalized pain.”
According to her:
“Jun Ji-hyun is an actor who can express inner pain and suffering. I don’t think there’s an actor better suited for the Ashin role than Jun Ji-hyun.”
During the virtual press conference, Jun Ji-hyun said that she felt positive pressure in performing her role as Ashin due to her complex emotions. She also added that the positive pressure that she felt made her perform her role better. At the end of the virtual press conference, she hoped for the supporters to intensify their ‘Kingdom Fever‘ in this special episode that featured the histories.
The history of the Kingdom universe
The special episode Kingdom: Ashin of the North took place before the spread of the zombie plague that happened in the first two seasons. Moreover, the director Kim Seong-hun also explained that the story happened near the Amnok River in the Northern Frontier where Ashin lives.
He then explained his curiosity about the ‘abandoned outposts in the north and thought about how the resurrection plant could have grown somewhere like that.‘ In addition, the setting elaborates the story and reflected the tension between the different groups in the northern region.
The creators of Kingdom: Ashin of the North
In the featurette, director Kim Seong-hun (on the left) told the writer Kim Eun-hee (on the right) that Kingdom: Ashin of the North would be her ‘best writing yet‘. In addition, director Kim Seong-hun also admired their tandem.
According to him:
“We are truly great partners and I really enjoy working with her.“
Jun Ji-hyun complimented the writer Kim Eun-hee and said that ‘she was the reason why she joined and there was no reason for her not to.‘
At the end of the press conference, the director Kim Seong-hun and writer Kim Eun-hee told everyone to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then they both thanked the fans for their love and support for the series.
Let us once again support the special episode, ‘Kingdom: Ashin of the North‘ premiering on Netflix on July 23 at 3 PM!
Paulette Annefreid Vivar is a journalism student from Cavite State University Indang Campus. She is a musically-inclined student journalist who loves to write poetry and to speak figuratively in her creative works, to compose songs and to sing.